Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes and Random Acts of Kindness


Over the weekend I was shopping at my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's .  As I was checking out,  I was chatting with the cashier about out wonderful weather.  Everyone in Chicago Land is buzzing about our weather lately.  I casually mentioned that my birthday was this week.  She stopped what she was doing, and said,  "Just a minute.  I'll be back". She came back with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, handing them to me and saying "Happy Birthday!"  I was speechless. I have never  received flowers from anyone in the grocery store, before, and I didn't know this cashier.  I know several people working there, but not this particular woman. Random Act of Kindness, that is what this was.  I have since learned that Trader Joe employees are encouraged to perform Random Acts of Kindness. Trader Joe's, you now have a fan for life. You know, if you receive a "Random Act of Kindness," you pay it forward.


To pay it forward, I made Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes for the TJ crew, and took them to the store yesterday, on my birthday. The crew loved them.  Maybe that wasn't such a "random" act of kindness, but I sure felt good doing it.  Because yesterday was the First Day of Spring, and our temps have been in the 80's, I wanted to make a Springy cupcake.  The strawberries have been delicious, and I always think of lemons for Springtime, a bright sunny flavor. Therefore, I made Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, and I found cute Spring themed cupcake liners, too.  The cupcakes taste like a bite of Spring with the sweet strawberries and brightness of the lemon. They are amazing. So make yourself a jar or glass of Strawberry Lemonade, have a Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake, and enjoy a taste of Spring!


Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
 Adapted from Half Baked, The Cake Blog and Crave.  Indulge. Satisfy
{makes 24 cupcakes )
For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemonade powder mix  ( I used Crystal Light)
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners
  1. In medium bowl mix together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, lemonade powder and lemon zest, set aside.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter and sugar on medium speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients and milk, alternating starting and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Once cupcakes are completely cool, ice with Strawberry Lemon Frosting and garnish with strawberry slice. (optional)
For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp strawberry puree (from about 3-4 strawberries)
1 tbsp lemon zest
  1. In bowl of stand mixer cream butter for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and continue mixing scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Mix in strawberry puree and lemon zest.
Place the icing in a piping bag fitted with tip 1M to decorate cupcakes

I linked up my Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes to Brandie's Weekend Potluck #10 @ The Country Cook'
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!
 




This was not a not a sponsored post, and the opinions expressed here are mine. 

23 comments:

  1. What a great birthday story, Becky! I am not surprised that she gave you flowers...you are truly wonderful and you bless so many people! I'm also not surprised that you reciprocated with these beautiful cupcakes. Just lovely!

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    1. Thank you for all of your accolades. The cupcakes are wonderful, and a bite of Spring!

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  2. That's so very sweet on both sides! I agree with Monet; it's no surprise! Your cupcakes look absolutely amazing, Becky. I love the combination of lemonade and strawberry.

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    1. Christiane,
      These cupcakes taste so good, especially with strawberry frosting on the lemon cupcake. I see that you made a Strawberry cake, which is gorgeous. Great minds think alike:)

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  3. That's so sweet of the cashier to give you flowers on your birthday and so sweet of you to make cupcakes for them in return. You just make me smile, Becky! The world sure need lots of people like you and also the cashier :D Happy Birthday again to you!

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    1. Mary,
      Thank you for the Birthday Wishes. I had a lot of fun making the cupcakes:) and I certainly appreciated the flowers.

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  4. Becky-such a heartfelt, wonderful story about "acts of kindness"...first; sad to say, we do not have a Trader Joe's in our state of Florida, that I know of...and second: I have not hear of a cashier giving out such a beautiful bouquet of flowers to anyone, other than a "cookie" to a child!
    It was even a nicer gesture for you to make the beautiful strawberry lemon cupcakes for the crew!
    You are a truly good person with a HUGE heart, Becky!
    The cupcakes are ever so pretty, so vibrant for SPRING and so yummy with the swirl of the light frosting!
    Happy Birthday, and Happy Spring:DDD

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    1. Elisabeth,
      Thank you for the Birthday Wishes and sweet words. One of the reasons why I love to bake is the instant gratification that I receive, when the people eat my baked goods. It's so rewarding.

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  5. Such a wonderful story! Just like you did not expect the flowers I am sure that they did not expect the cupcakes. I have read some of your posts and you have reached out to fellow bloggers by sending some goodies to them during stressful times, you are a really sweet person. It is only fitting that you get flowers from someone you barely know!
    Your cakes with the Crystal light have really interested me-I have never used a drink mix in baked goods. They look delicious. Happy birthday! Also, right back at you my sweet friend-Happy Spring.

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    1. Tina,
      Thank you for the birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day, and the flowers are beautiful.

      As for using Crystal Light or other powdered drink mixes, I think that they are just used to boost the flavor. In this case, it just gave a deeper lemon flavor to the cupcakes. I imagine lemon extract would do the same thing. Next time I might use the lemon extract.

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  6. Beautiful post. Love the cupcakes and flowers.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words. The cupcakes are so good!

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  7. Love that story...I'm SO PSYCHED that we're getting a TJs here in San Antonio later this summer!! And these cupcakes? Amazing!!! I love strawberry and lemon...and together? Fabulous! Enjoy that lovely weather up there...

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    1. Wendy,
      I'm excited for you about the TJ's in S.A. It's a great place! Just like a neighborhood grocery store. These cupcakes taste like a bite of Spring, so good!

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    1. Claudia,
      Thank you for your sweet words!

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  9. Wow...what a great story. It's nice to know there are still nice people (and companies) out there. Your cupcakes look great :)

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    1. thanks for stopping by my blog and your sweet comments. These cupcakes are so good!

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  10. Pretty cupcakes - they look delicious!

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    1. Jenn,
      These cupcakes are so good with lots of strawberry and lemon flavor.

      Delete
  11. Double sweetness here...TJ for giving you a beautiful bunch of flowers and you for treating them to your amazing cupcakes! I think you both got an excellent deal! xo

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  12. It's stories like this that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Seriously. And those cupcakes are the perfect addition to the first day of spring. I wish I had some to brighten up this rainy Vancouver night!

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  13. Aw that is so sweet :) People sometimes don't realise how their actions, positive or negative, can really affect others. Happy belated Birthday Becky, hugs. Thanks for being a part of the YBR :)

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